1/2 large onion, peeled, with root fibers
4 large cloves garlic, slightly mashed
2 jalapeno chiles, cut lengthwise
1 bunch cilantro, tied
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 1/2 teaspoons
6 quarts water
1/2 cup tomato puree
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
Remove any foreign particles from the beans. Watch for small black stones
that resemble the beans. Rinse beans in cold water three times, stirring by
hand. Roast cumin, coriander and oregano together and crush or roughly grind
them in a spice mill. Tie them up together with the onion, garlic, jalapenos,
cilantro, bay leaves, thyme and peppercorns in cheesecloth and simmer in water
for 15 minutes.
Add beans, tomato puree and salt to the water and simmer very low for 3
hours, or until the beans are completely soft and just starting to fall apart.
Add water as necessary. Remove the cheesecloth bag. To make a thicker soup,
puree 1 1/2 cups beans and stir them back into the soup.
Pour the soup into individual serving bowls and garnish with equal amounts
of sour cream, chopped avocado, minced scallions, chopped cilantro and minced
serrano chiles. Serve with a lime wedge.